Day at sea?

Sun, sea and beach means pure enjoyment to many people. The numerous day tourists when the weather is nice are the best proof of this. Coastal and residential tourism is an important economic sector and still shows a rising trend.

What are we going to do today?

Both on the beach and in the water there are many leisure opportunities for everyone: boating, sunbathing, sports, games ..... Besides, many more activities on and around the beach are organised, especially in the summer. Sport fishing is also an important activity for which no permit is required as the catch may not be sold. Recreational trammel net and gillnet fishery (nets that are put out on the seabed where fish but also birds and harbour porpoises can become entangled) are however prohibited.

Fun for everyone?

Unfortunately however, the tourism and leisure on the coast cause, in addition to environmental problems on land, also a number of marine environmental problems:

• beach waste and waste in marinas: this is not only an unpleasant sight, but the waste often ends up in the sea. It may thus be dangerous to the animals that consume the waste.
• disturbance of protected species: harbour porpoises can become entangled in recreational trammel nets on the beach, resting seals are disturbed when people come too close and certain sea birds are very sensitive to disturbance by certain sports such as jet skiing, kite surfing and motorboat races.

What to do?

• Respect the legislation that prohibits certain recreational activities such as yachting on sea or water sport competitions in the two Birds Directive Areas.
• Verify in advance whether or not certain activities are disturbing: an "appropriate evaluation" may be needed for the activities in or near the marine protected areas
• Ensure that the coast and the sea are managed in an integrated manner: the Marine Environment service together with the Flemish Region is a partner of the Coordination Centre for Sustained Coastal Zone Management.